When a recession hits, marketing tends to be one of the first things cut. It seems like an easy way to cut expenses, but that only works in the short term.

Research has shown us that, ultimately, companies that cut advertising and other marketing expenditures are hurt in the long term. This has been repeated through every recession of the past 40 years, as found in dozens of studies by McGraw-Hill, Harvard Business Review, and others.

There’s less data available on the remodeling market, but the RT Marketing team has decades of experience helping remodelers and builders with their marketing strategies. Through multiple recessions, we have seen that those companies that keep emphasizing their brands, that stay focused on building trust and recognition, are the ones that come out strong on the other side.

Don’t make the mistake, though, of thinking you can keep doing exactly what you were doing before March. The best companies are always adapting their marketing strategy. (Check out our recent blog on changing your marketing for a post-shutdown world.)

Look at your marketing objectively: What makes sense? What doesn’t? Does that billboard on Highway 1 actually help your business or do you just keep doing it because you always have? (And it is really time to rethink that Yellow Pages ad!) Examine every part of your marketing to make sure it makes sense in today’s world.

If you’re not sure where to start, that’s something RT Marketing can help with. This blog explains our approach to Adaptive Marketing.

This recession is certainly unique – it’s been more than 100 years since we’ve had a wide-scale pandemic-related crisis here in the United States.  We don’t know exactly what this recession will end up looking like or how long it will last.

Still, it’s worth thinking about the lessons we’ve learned in the past. Talk to your customers – past, present, and potential. What are they worried about? What is driving them to remodel? For example, one of the biggest things we heard over and over from remodelers during the Great Recession is that the homeowners went from bragging about how much they spent to how much they saved. They didn’t want to be conspicuous in their spending, even if they had the money.

One of the biggest advantages you have is that many of your competitors have probably stopped or cut their marketing efforts. That means advertising rates have dropped for many outlets and there’s less noise out there for you to compete against. This will make it even easier to stand out!

It also makes it a great time to try out some new things. If you’ve been thinking of ramping up your social media efforts, starting a blog or adding how-to videos, take advantage of this time to improve and grow what you do.

The need for remodeling doesn’t stop just because the economy slows down. Are homeowners making different choices? Of course, but we need to be ready to meet their needs, whatever they are, now and when the recovery comes.